Anti-Anxiety Diet? How Food Impacts Your Mental Health

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Dietetics and psychology

Nutritional psychiatry combines the studies of nutrition, dietetic sciences, and psychological sciences. It aims to explore the impact that nutritional intervention can have on mental health.

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Treat brain like luxury car

The human brain can be compared to a luxury car. If you use high-quality fuel, the car can achieve optimal performance. If you use low-quality fuel, it can reduce performance and can even damage the car.

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High-quality fuel

Our brain is active 24/7, even when we’re asleep, so it is constantly in need of fuel. The food we eat provides that fuel, and the quality of the fuel has a significant impact on how the brain performs.

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Food and the brain

The food we put in our bodies directly impacts the structure and functioning of the brain. This, in turn, affects our mood.

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Essential nutrients provide protection

High-quality foods with lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants help to protect the brain from harmful free radicals. Free radicals are naturally produced when the body uses oxygen.

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Diets can do damage

If we’re lacking in these essential nutrients, our bodies don’t have the power to protect the brain from these free radicals. In fact, a poor diet high in processed foods and refined sugars not only reduces protection, it causes further harm to the brain.

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Nutrition and depression

This kind of diet promotes inflammation and increases the amount of harmful free radicals in the body. Multiple studies have found a strong link between a diet high in refined sugars and impaired brain function.

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The importance of the gut

Nutritional psychiatry is beginning to expand our knowledge of how the food we eat affects how we feel, but also how our gut bacteria ties into our mental health.

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Serotonin

Most people have heard of serotonin in relation to mood. It’s the neurotransmitter in the brain that regulates our mood, as well as our sleep and our appetite.

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Low serotonin and depression

If someone has low levels of serotonin, then they are more likely to be depressed or anxious. One of the most commonly prescribed forms of antidepressant medication is the SSRI, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.

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The "good" bacteria

Spending time in the sun is fun, but it’s important to protect yourself. Too much sun exposure can cause skin cancer and eye damage and make your skin age faster. Use sunscreen and wear protective clothing and eye shades to enjoy the sun safely.

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